On Saturday evening, October 21, OJC hosted a poetry reading with Fern Carr. It was a delight listening to Fern’s own works, many of which come from her book, “Shards of Crystal.” Signed copies of the book were available for purchase by those in attendance. Thanks go out to Fern for her very meaningful rendition of her creations and how surprised we were to hear many on a Jewish theme, and two poems written in Yiddish!

Want to be in the know about OJC programming? Sign up for our newsletters!

OJC was pleased to host our 3rd Monthly Shabbaton weekend for our congregation. This week-end we enjoyed having out again to Kelowna, Rabbi Schachar Orenstein from Montreal. It was a lovely and well-attended Friday night dinner and service, similarly matched by the Saturday morning service. Thanks go out to all who assisted in making it possible, including Ted Wenner and Zoe Wise for hosting Rabbi in their home.

Want to be in the know about OJC programming? Sign up for our newsletters!

After a brief tribute to Israel, its victims, its wounded and its hostage-taking crisis during the terrible terrorist attack of Shabbat, October 7th, our member, Maya Pilin, introduced our speaker Dr. Barbara Kishenblatt-Gimblett. Dr. Barbara was the curator of the main exhibit of the newly created POLIN museum in Warsaw which tells the 1000 year history of Polish Jewry on the Pale of settlements, from which the majority of Ashkenazic Jewry originate from. The presentation was excellent, combining a very intriguing visual presentation with excellent discussion about the history and the content by Dr. Barbara, the curator of this phenomenal museum. Thanks go out to Dr. Barbara and to Maya Pilin for presenting this event for us.

Want to be in the know about OJC programming? Sign up for our newsletters!

What a great program and what super attendance. It was a pleasure to meet and greet everyone present, especially those who were new to OJC programs. Special thanks to Jody Gruber for arranging the program, so special with the sukkah decoration, the explanations, the shaking of the lulav and etrog, and the pizza and treats. Thanks to Joan Ironstand for growing 15 baby etrog plants which were given out to the children and parents. Joan, we have more seeds for you to plant this year!

High Holiday services for 5784 were very well attended and enjoyed by all. The community came together with good spirit and participation as one ushered in the New Year. Special thanks to Evan Orloff for his superb leadership of all the services. The attached photo shows the participation at the Tashlich service at Mill Creek by the Parkinson Rec Centre, where one was able to again throw in our sins from the previous year and hope for a very happy and healthy upcoming New Year!

Our Shabbaton week-end with Rabbi/Cantor Russ was wonderful. It was great to have him back at OJC, and we know that his feelings were exactly the same on being back with us. Friday Shabbat dinner and evening service was very well attended. As expected, there were less in attendance for Saturday morning. His cantorial and now rabbinic skills were very much enjoyed and appreciated. The Saturday evening social event with regards to his career and training as a Hazan was a delight with numerous operatic arias which were somewhat unexpected but thoroughly enjoyed. Wow! What an eventful week-end for those who attended.

On a somewhat less smokey day, August 27, 2023, OJC was able to hold its planned second Community Picnic of the summer at Sarson’s Beach -Okanagan Mission Activity Centre. In spite of still smokey skies, 25 persons were able to attend, and it was great to see everyone out after the challenging 2 weeks that Kelowna has seen because of the fires. Thanks again to Mondy and Misty for arranging the pizza and also to those who brought side dishes for the event.

Rabbi Jonathan Infeld and Lissa Weinberger

OJC was delighted to have Rabbi Infeld and his wife Lissa Weinberger from Beth Israel Synagogue in Vancouver for our very first monthly Shabbaton week-end on August 11-13, 2023. A lovely week-end consisting of two Shabbat services with corresponding meals and a wonderful presentation by them of their recent trip to search for their roots in Krakow, Poland. The week-end was capped off by a PJ Library program on the Sunday morning, led by Lissa, manager of Jewish Education at the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver. The morning program was attended by about 14 children and their 10 parents. Great to see all these young families come out for this very fun program.

Although not participating with food sales on the Shabbat, OJC members participated as individuals volunteering at the entranceway to the event at Prospera Place on July 1st, 2023. Our volunteers included Sharon Silver Gitlin, Marla Edelson and the COMPLETE Spevakow family. Thanks to all these great volunteers for helping the City of Kelowna celebrate Canada’s birthday!